Avoid Multiple Freeze/Thaw Cycles: Woolly Bear Caterpillars

Recently, I was walking through a local park near Promega, when I spotted my first woolly bear of the season. As this furry brown and black caterpillar wandered along in front of me, I recalled the old wives’ tale about the width of their stripes being indicative of the upcoming winter fury. Spotting that little fellow in the sidewalk piqued my curiosity, and I decided to see what I could discover about my friend, the woolly bear. Continue reading “Avoid Multiple Freeze/Thaw Cycles: Woolly Bear Caterpillars”

The Chemistry of Autumn Colors

Trees and plants in full color demonstrating the chemistry of autumn colors

Here in Wisconsin, the leaves are starting to turn the characteristic reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. This is one of my favorite times of the year (not only because of Mother Nature’s impressive displays but also because we are nearing that magical time between the last lawn mowing and the first snow shoveling). This is the time of year that I try to take in as much color as I can before everything is covered in a blanket of white.

As I stroll around, enjoying the view, I think about the chemical changes within the leaves that cause such vibrant colors. I can’t help myself; I am a scientist.

Continue reading “The Chemistry of Autumn Colors”